I-70 Conference shows out in Challenge #2

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

In the annual I-70/MRCH Challenge, four teams from the MRVC squared off against four I-70 Conference teams. When the dust settled, three of the four total championship-game teams (two girls, one boys) came from the I-70, as the Saint Paul Lutheran High School Saints won the boys tournament over Lexington High School, and Santa Fe High School Lady Chiefs defeated the SPLHS Saints in the girls tournament.

Boys

First round
(4) Lafayette County 54
(5) Concordia 70
The Concordia High School Orioles boys basketball team was able to blow apart a tightly-contested matchup in the second half, getting past Lafayette County High School 70-54 in first round action.
The score after the first quarter was 12-12, as four Orioles scored two points each and senior Matthew Gatewood would pick up four points. Both teams would come alive in the second quarter though, with Concordia pulling away with a slight 34-32 lead heading into the half.
The Orioles held the Huskers to just 20 second half points while scoring 36 of their own as the defense hunkered down and the offense kept filling up the hole, leading them to a 70-54 victory.
Gatewood finished with 20 points in the victory, while senior Tad Deatherage scored 19 points of his own behind five second half 3pt field goals.
Sophomore Troy Brandt has been coming on really nicely this season, and he continued it here with 10 points. Seniors Lane Mueller (eight points) and Cameron Kelly (six points) also helped the scoring cause.
The win moves the Orioles ahead to the semifinal matchup, while Lafayette County descended to the consolation bracket with the loss.

(1) SPLHS 67
(8) Carrollton 21
In their first round matchup, the Saint Paul Lutheran High School Saints boys basketball team offered the tournament field a reminder in their dominance, throttling the Carrollton High School Trojans, 67-21.
Elijah Muehler put in a game-high 20 points. The senior also collected seven rebounds and seven steals. Senior Dobrivoj Andrejic scored 15 points as well in the lopsided victory.
For the Saints, a matchup with the Concordia High School Orioles awaits them in the semifinal round, while the Trojans were relegated to the consolation bracket.

Second round
(1) SPLHS 61
(5) Concordia 45
In a semifinal matchup that really didn’t see either team pull away until the end, the Saint Paul Lutheran High School Saints boys basketball team kept their championship hopes alive with a victory over crosstown rival Concordia High School, 61-45.
Micah Lemmons (five points), Dobrivoj Andrejic (two points), and Elijah Muehler (four points)-- Saint Paul’s dominant senior trio -- collected all of the Saints first quarter points as they would get off to a narrow 11-8 advantage to end the first quarter.
Scoring was no laughing matter for an Orioles team normally chock full o’ buckets, but the first half would conclude with seniors Matt Gatewood (four points) and Tad Deatherage (two points) picking up just six combined points. Junior Colby Stein connected from long-range twice en-route to six first half points.
The Saints would turn to their younger members for most of their second quarter points, as junior Dominic Alicea showed his range for two 3pt field goals in the second, and sophomore Vlado Vretenicic contributed five points in the quarter, spurring the Saints to a 27-19 halftime lead.
The margin would shrink slightly in the third quarter, as senior Oriole Lane Mueller got hot en route to nine points in the third. Gatewood also connected from outside twice.
For the Saints, however, Alicea caught his own kind of fire, smacking down three more field goals from outside the arc. His Saints gave him seven points of support, and the fourth quarter started with a 43-37 score.
The fourth quarter was an easy one for the Saints, however, as the Orioles managed just eight points. Elijah Muehler would connect for ten points of his own in the quarter, leading the Saints to the 61-45 victory.

For the Saints, Muehler was the leading scorer, picking up 18 in the victory. Alicea went for 17 points of his own, and Vretenicic picked up nine points in the win.
Mueller would be the Orioles leading scorer, as his third quarter played a large role in his team-high 12 points. Fellow senior Cameron Kelly picked up 10 points, as did Gatewood.

The gameplan worked for the Saints, who advanced to the championship match with the win. Concordia moved to the third place matchup in losing.

Third round
(3) Wellington-Napoleon 62
(5) Concordia 67
It wasn’t much easier of a matchup for the Concordia High School Orioles in the third place matchup against Wellington-Napoleon High School, but they found a way to get the job done, upsetting the Tigers 67-62.
A fast start for the Orioles proved to be the key to victory, as senior Matthew Gatewood put up 10 first quarter points en route to a 16-8 advantage after one quarter. A slower quarter (10 points) for the Orioles was combated by a nine point WellNap quarter, and the Orioles advanced to a 26-17 halftime lead.
Senior Tad Deatherage filled it up in the third quarter, scoring 10 of his team’s 21 points in the frame. Gatewood picked up five as well, while sophomore Troy Brandt put up four in the quarter.
Despite heading into the quarter ahead 47-35 and putting up 20 points, one of the best individual quarters of the entire season was put up in the fourth against the Orioles as senior Tiger Trey Shannon nearly willed a comeback single-handedly with a 22 point quarter (he would finish with a whopping 38 points). The Orioles were able to hold the opposition off, however, and would win the third place matchup 67-62.
Gatewood went for 24 points in the victory, while senior Lane Mueller put up 10 points. Deatherage finished with 14, and Brandt finished with 10.
The Orioles won the third-place matchup along with the matchup with the Tigers, while WellNap went home empty-handed.

(1) SPLHS 67
(2) Lexington 55
The Saint Paul Lutheran High School Saints came to the championship matchup against Lexington High School knowing they’d have a tough matchup, but hot stretches pulled them through a difficult matchup with the Minutemen en route to the tournament championship victory, winning 67-55.
Despite starting off down 15-14, the Saints pulled ahead a little bit by halftime, going into the intermission ahead 33-29. The third and fourth quarters went similarly, as they would win the third quarter by five points and put up 21 points in the fourth, powering them to the victory.
Sophomore Dominic Alicea led his squad in scoring, picking up 15 points behind four 3pt field goals. Senior Micah Lemmons did his part as well, scoring 14 points. Sophomore Vlado Vratinicic went for 11 points and nine rebounds, while senior Dobrivoj Andrejic collected nine points and nine rebounds.
The Saints took home the I-70/MRVCE Challenge championship with the win.

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